Chronicling Faith and History

By Carlyn Worthy ’12

Our centennial celebration began with a bang in April. We’re celebrating 100 years of upholding faith, tradition, and the success of our alumni. Our faculty and staff have been working hard for years in preparation of what’s to come within the next year. Among these faculty members is Bernard Cook, Ph.D., the author of Founded on Faith: A History of Loyola University New Orleans.

Founded on Faith is the first published history of Loyola University New Orleans. Cook began the writing process in 2008 after being commissioned by University President Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D. He has also written and published a complete history of Belgium and edited two historical encyclopedias: Europe since 1945 and Women and War.

“Fr. Wildes felt that in order to celebrate the centennial we ought to have a history of the university. He wanted a comprehensive history; he wanted something that was more than just a book of illustrations. He thought the story of Loyola was an interesting story. There were many challenges in the history of Loyola that people needed to know about,” Cook says.

Cook, with the assistance of a small group of Loyola students and staff, conducted research in the Jesuit Archives over a period of two years. Cook credited the aid of the Loyola faculty, namely Joan Galeen and Art Carpenter, who helped to locate bulletins and issues of the The Maroon and The Wolf, Loyola’s award-winning publications.

Cook has strong ties to the university. He began his career at Loyola in his mid-20s, shortly after finishing his class work for his Ph.D., which he received from St. Louis University. He was in the midst of writing his dissertation while teaching students. He says his affection for Loyola was reinforced while writing the history.

“Some really admirable people contributed to making Loyola the institution it is today. I wish that I had known many of the people that I got to know about and wrote about, such as Fr. Biever, the founding president, and Fr. Patrick Ryan, who contributed to the development of the university. There are so many people who contributed significantly to the university,” he says.

Cook also recognized other Jesuits for their efforts in bringing women and minorities into the university at a time where it did not seem possible.

“The difficulty was in the process of integrating Loyola and the work that was done by Fr. Louis Twomey and Fr. Joseph Fichter in persuading other Jesuits who were perhaps wedded to their southern ideas or traditions and did not want to rock the boat,” he says. “These two men played a significant role and stuck their necks out, demanding that Loyola live up to its Jesuit and Christian principles, and it did. It is, I think, perhaps a bit sad that it took Loyola so long to integrate. But there were people like Fr. Twomey and Fr. Fichter who were pushing Loyola to live up to their Jesuit, Catholic, and Christian principles.”

Cook hopes the book will provide students with insight on the principles Loyola was founded upon.

“I would hope that, through reading the book, they would realize the mission that was in the minds of the founders and so many people who have contributed,” he says. “We have a particular purpose at Loyola that is certainly academic, but even more than that, is a Jesuit commitment to transforming people and getting people to look at the world in a different sort of fashion, in a different sort of way. I think it helps us to go back to the roots of Jesuit education.”

Founded on Faith: A History of Loyola University New Orleans can be purchased in the Loyola Bookstore or through www.loyno.bkstr.com


Carlyn Worthy ’12 (communication) worked as the publications intern for the Office of Marketing and Communications during the spring 2012 semester.

 View the complete summer 2012 issue of LOYNO.

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